A third straight IRONMAN Taupo 70.3 win was not to be for Red Bull’s Braden Currie, after a bike mechanical held him up on the shortened course and saw him reluctantly settle for second today.
Currie remained philosophical after another mechanical set-back altered his ability to produce his best performance.
“I’ve learnt to accept it when things like this happen. There wasn’t anything I could do other than race as hard as I could within the parameters set by the one gear I had available on my bike,” he says.
On entering the transition area for the bike, Currie found his bike stuck in the gear he set it on the night before in the transition rack, and an inability to shift it up or down. The 90km bike course rolls through New Zealand’s renowned rural landscape and takes in sections of the Kellogg’s IRONMAN New Zealand, which Currie won on debut earlier this year.
Having only one gear meant Currie had to change his mind set, and adapt his race plan in order to minimise the damage on the bike.
“Up the hills I was out of my seat climbing as hard as I could and on the flat I was on my seat spinning like a maniac. It was frustrating but that’s racing and these things happen” he says.
At the turn around at the township of Reporoa, Currie was holding onto fifth place, 22secs down on the leader Benjamin Collins.
Heading back towards Taupo, Phillips made a late move to arrive at T2 in the lead. Currie was 2.34 back in a pack, which included fellow Kiwis Callum Millward and Dylan McNeice.
Transitioning onto the 21.1km run, which takes in Lake Taupo and was lined with spectator support, Currie initially started to eat into Phillips’ lead. At the end of the first lap the gap was down to 1:55 but by the last lap, Phillips had held on to his advantage and Currie crossed the line in 3hours:38mins.32secs, just under two and a half minutes behind Phillips.
“Mike had a really good race. I knew he would be strong all day. I tried to mow him down on the run but I just didn’t have enough left in the tank today,” Currie says.
The usually three-discipline race became a duathlon today, as the 1.9km swim was cancelled after potentially toxic algal species was found in Lake Taupo. The new format was a 3km run, 90km bike and a 21.1km run.
Today’s race wraps up a busy schedule that has seen Currie compete in both the Hawaii-based World IRONMAN – where his race was altered by a flat tyre and a time penalty – and XTERRA Championships in October and place third in the IRONMAN 70.3 Asia Pacific Championships, in Sydney, a fortnight ago.
Currie now switches back to his multisport roots and will swap swimming training for kayaking as he prepares to race Red Bull Defiance with fellow triathlete Dougal Allan, in Wanaka, on January 20 and 21.